Applications are now open for the 2021 Program. Deadline is June 30, 2021. View the slides from our April 2021 webinar to learn more

Avril Ussery Sisk

Ethic Counsel
US Department of Housing and Urban Development

  • Accomplished, multi-disciplined enterprise risk manager and leadership professional in ethics and compliance
  • 30-plus years of government, business, public affairs and legislative experience
  • Adept at managing the intersections of business and government
  • Anticipates and interprets government action and regulatory initiatives to advise and direct clients
  • Develops strategies, people and teams to deliver results and successfully promote business objectives.

Industry experience:

  • Federal, State and Local government experience
  • Policy knowledge in housing, economic development
  • Management experience with union and non-union staff and employees
  • Litigation, regulatory and counseling experience
  • Adjudication experience as a judge and mediator
  • Healthcare sector experience as a hospital advisory board member

Functional experience:

  • Designed high impact strategic initiative establishing federal agency risk management system which resulted in significant expansion of the agency ethics program to mitigate reputational and litigation risks, and supported the successful implementation of systemic organizational and cultural change, applicable to staff functions, production processes and customer satisfaction.
  • As Chair of the Arlington Community Foundation Board of Trustees, provides governance and oversight on capital programs, growth strategies, and expansion planning.
  • Vice-Chair, Arlington County (VA) Economic Development Commission; selected to lead Commission’s collaborative community initiative involving workforce development, business recruitment and realignment, business climate and other local economic development issues.
  • Earned Directorship Certification, National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD)
  • Invited to establish Ethics and Compliance Institute Working Group on ethics issues particular to government and NGOs.
  • Developed federal agency’s regulatory agenda in collaboration with various program offices to address housing and real estate industry issues, and advised federal agency offices on legislative matters, interpreting the agency’s legislative response.
  • Launched and led design team resulting in award-winning professional workforce development program which addressed agency succession planning, talent recruitment, leadership and management education.

Key business transactional experience:

  • Have led search committees for strategic new hires (CEO and all levels)
  • Negotiated national and local supplements to agency union contract and resolved employment and department conflicts at significant savings to the organization, implemented alternative dispute resolution frameworks which generated major cost savings, settlements, expeditious and tailored decision making.
  • Provided ethics guidance and legal services to all levels of staff including the Office of the Secretary, at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and have been instrumental in the development of a greater understanding of risk assessment and mitigation.

What is the most important skill you bring to a corporate board?

  • I am a trusted advisor, engineer of board and organization culture change; have led others to recognize the value of shared culture, purpose and risk mitigation in support of an organization’s goals.
  • I can expand the understanding of risk assessment and management among board members to foster and maintain an organization’s public reputation.
  • I can work to appropriately identify and assess high-risk divisions and constituencies within an organization by utilizing ethics and compliance best practices to guide board members in the board’s management oversight responsibilities.